Our decision to homeschool was a serendipitous accident.
All of her little group of friends were headed off together–except her. My oldest had missed the kindergarten deadline and she was heartbroken. In an effort to cheer her up, I naively offered to have school with her at home that year. I didn’t have any friends or family who homeschooled. I never intended to actually become a homeschooler. Looking back, I see all of that as a blessing from Heavenly Father, because homeschooling has been a monumental blessing to our family!
If you are considering homeschool, but aren’t quite sure, here are ten reasons you should take the plunge:
1. Family relationships are strengthened during homeschool
- My kids are each others best friends. Nothing makes me happier than to see my older kids playing tenderly with or reading to my littles.
- I remember feeling like my teachers were smarter and more worthy of respect than my parents. I think it’s inevitable for kids to feel that way when the majority of their instruction is coming from a teacher and when so much more of their prime times is spent with their teachers. Because I am my kids’ teacher, I retain that honor and respect.
2. Learning is customized in a homeschool
- I move my kids much faster than I was every allowed to at school, because schools have to cater to the slowest students, so they can stay interested and engaged.
- We don’t bother with busy work or have to spend time on discipline or lining up for lunch, so school only takes us 3-4 hours per day, allowing my children more time to pursue their individual interests and work on talents.
- At home learning is customized to what the child and parent feel is best. Parents know best and care the most. Even the very best teachers, I’m sure, struggle to love all the students and probably even dislike the really hard kids.
- We homeschoolers don’t have to teach to a test. We can teach our kid what they are really interested in, which will always be better retained.
3. Homeschooled children associate more comfortably and capably with adults
- My kids, including my teenagers, respect and value adults better than I ever did. I think it is because they usually learn in small, mixed-age groups (at co-op) and so have more frequent interactions with and feel more comfortable with adults than most kids their age.
- My kids have more time for volunteer work and service, including frequent opportunities to work with the homeless and people with different disabilities, and learn to value all of God’s children.
4. Homeschoolers are more likely to achieve mastery of subjects
- My kids hand their math assignments to me. I check them and hand them back. They make corrections. I check again. They correct again. By the time they finish their problem set for the day, they have a perfect score. This would be impossible in a classroom of thirty children. I feel like this gives my kids mastery of math. We follow the same pattern for all of our subjects. In my schools, growing up, we would just hand our assignments in and receive a grade, never learning why we missed something or how to fix it.
5. Homeschool children learn through experience
- When we wanted to learn about early civilizations, we visited Mesa Verde and walked through one. When we wanted to learn the history of trains, we visited Promontory Point. When we wanted to learn about ocean life, we visited tide pools near San Diego.
- Experience is a far better teacher than reading about something, and tends to stick better with all types of learners. Experiential learning promotes higher student motivation and better retention of knowledge.
6. You can travel (and ski!) as often as you like if you homeschool
- We like to build family relationships by travelling often together. We can take our homeschool work along and complete it as easily in China as we can at home. My kids don’t miss out on anything.
- Disneyland (and everywhere else) is packed the week of Spring Break because all of the kids are out at the same time. Our favorite times to visit Disneyland are in September, right after school starts on January, right after all the kids head back to school from Christmas break. There are no lines!
- I’m an avid skier and love that, since we are not beholden to a public school schedule, we can ski anytime we want. I especially love being able to ski weekdays, when the lines are short.
7. Life skills are learned naturally in a homeschool
- I took a cooking class at school, but if I had to depend on what I learned in that class I would starve. Same with sewing. I did learn to type well, but the class took an hour every day for an entire semester. My kids learn to type using an online game and type well in just a couple of weeks.
- Because school takes so much less time at home, my kids spend lots of time at my side, helping me garden, sew, cook (my kids can make anything and everything–even my 5-year-old–not just the ten recipes they learned in a cooking class), blog, paint and create. I can hand my ten-year-old a light fixture and he will install it for me. He knows how to shut off the power at the electrical box and how to wire it up and affix it to the box. My kids helped me break out the concrete in the basement to move some plumbing for a toilet. I love that they will grow up confidently able to maintain their homes and remodel them if need be.
- My kids, through constant exposure to babies and younger siblings, have learned to change diapers, quiet them, feed them and play with them. I think they also love each other better for being required to serve one another.
8. Love of learning is fostered in a homeschool
- Kids read voraciously for enjoyment and become lifelong learners because they are never taught otherwise.
- At home, children are encouraged to explore, discover, and develop their own passions and talents and have the time and freedom to be able to do so.
9. You don’t have to break all the bad habits they pick up at school
- Like swear words and slang and vulgar jokes
- Provocative or inappropriate outfits
- Disrespectful, condescending attitude toward you, complete with eye rolling and sass
- And probably lying and cheating, even though you are SURE your kids are good kids!
10. You don’t have to worry about their self-esteem
- Because YOU, their number one fan, will be their patient and loving teacher and mentor
- They will spend the majority of their time with their number one fan, who is always kind and whose number one concern is the welfare of their child.
If you like to weigh data in order to help you make your decisions, here are some excerpts from the College issue of USA Today.
Research shows that home-schooled students are certainly capable of adjusting to the college curriculum academically – home-schooled students generally score slightly above the national average on both the SAT and the ACT and often enter college with more college credits. Studies have also shown that on average home-schooled students have higher grade point averages in their freshman years and have higher graduation rates than their peers.
They are also more likely to have higher self-esteem and be less susceptible to peer pressure.
The following books were indispensable to me when I was deciding whether I should or could commit to homeschool long-term.
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(please note that the books below are affiliate links. Read my disclosure here. If you click on these links and go on to make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the cost. I only link to products that I genuinely recommend – never just to make money. Clicking on these links doesn’t cost you a single penny extra, but it helps me to keep Orison Orchards running, so I appreciate it greatly!)
Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity?
In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, Oliver DeMille presents a new educational vision based on proven methods that really work! Teachers, students, parents, educators, legislators, leaders and everyone who cares about America’s future must read this compelling book.
This inspirational manual picks up where A Thomas Jefferson Education leaves off. It develops in-depth not only the philosophy but also the nuts-and-bolts application of each individual Phase, the critical Transitions between Phases and the big-picture vision to begin with the end in mind. The world’s problems can be summed up in just a few words: lack of leadership. While the world is in desperate need of leaders, very few people have the tools to become one. The Phases of Learning is the manual that every person who aspires to be an effective leader, or to raise one, needs. Principled decision-making, the cultivation of character, studying the classics, and using critical thinking skills are just a few of the lost educational virtues of today restored by this book. An in-depth look at the philosophy and phases of education is indispensable when creating leaders. This book will help any family find the direction they are looking for when pursuing leadership education.
Is your child getting lost in the system, becoming bored, losing his or her natural eagerness to learn? If so, it may be time to take charge of your child’s education―by doing it yourself.
The Well-Trained Mind will instruct you how to give your child an academically rigorous, comprehensive education from preschool through high school―one that will train him or her to read, to think, to understand, to be well-rounded and curious about learning. Veteran home educators Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise outline the classical pattern of education called the trivium, which organizes learning around the maturing capacity of the child’s mind and comprises three stages: the elementary school “grammar stage,” when the building blocks of information are absorbed through memorization and rules; the middle school “logic stage,” in which the student begins to think more analytically; and the high-school “rhetoric stage,” where the student learns to write and speak with force and originality. Using this theory as your model, you’ll be able to instruct your child―whether full-time or as a supplement to classroom education―in all levels of reading, writing, history, geography, mathematics, science, foreign languages, rhetoric, logic, art, and music, regardless of your own aptitude in those subjects.
Throw off the shackles of formal schooling and embark upon a rich journey of self-directed, life-long learning.
After over 100 years of mandatory schooling in the U.S., literacy rates have dropped, families are fragmented, learning “disabilities” are skyrocketing, and children and youth are increasingly disaffected. Thirty years of teaching in the public school system led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling is to blame, accomplishing little but to teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.
He became a fierce advocate of families and young people taking back education and learning, arguing that “genius is as common as dirt,” but that conventional schooling is driving out the natural curiosity and problem-solving skills we’re born with, replacing it with rule-following, fragmented time, and disillusionment.
Educating the WholeHearted child is filled with practical ideas for how to homeschool, such as how to approach your children from a parent/educator perspective and how to make your home a place where learning happens naturally. Their advice is indispensable to the new to homeschooling family.
First published in the mid 1960s, How Children Fail began an education reform movement that continues today. In his 1982 edition, John Holt added new insights into how children investigate the world, into the perennial problems of classroom learning, grading, testing, and into the role of the trust and authority in every learning situation. His understanding of children, the clarity of his thought, and his deep affection for children have made both How Children Fail and its companion volume, How Children Learn, enduring classics.